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12-06-2015, 02:12 PM   #1
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Advice on developing equipment please

Okay, so having assured myself I can obtain the chemicals, the following questions present themselves:

I have elected, in the first instance, to go for the Paterson tank system with a two-reel tank. This appears to be the easiest system to load "blind". While I am tempted by the low chemical volume use of the single reel steel tanks, the coils seem more difficult to manage - although this may change after practice with a sacrificial film - and I would like to leave some room for growth.

The general impression I get is that the two-reel tank comes boxed with one reel and spares can be bought separately. Does having only the one reel in the tank cause any issues when inverting/agitating?

What's the smallest darkbag I should consider getting?

Is there any strong reason NOT to use the Patersons?

12-06-2015, 03:17 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
Okay, so having assured myself I can obtain the chemicals, the following questions present themselves:

I have elected, in the first instance, to go for the Paterson tank system with a two-reel tank. This appears to be the easiest system to load "blind". While I am tempted by the low chemical volume use of the single reel steel tanks, the coils seem more difficult to manage - although this may change after practice with a sacrificial film - and I would like to leave some room for growth.

The general impression I get is that the two-reel tank comes boxed with one reel and spares can be bought separately. Does having only the one reel in the tank cause any issues when inverting/agitating?

What's the smallest darkbag I should consider getting?

Is there any strong reason NOT to use the Patersons?
Purists will insist you should use stainless steel, but I've used plastic Paterson reels for decades and have yet to see any evidence that they are inferior in developing results. In theory the purists are correct that plastic can leach chemistry; I've run tests comparing both and can't see any differences.

Also as a photo teacher, the Paterson reels are the easiest to load. For agitation, I usually use the agitator stirring stick gently for the initial 10 seconds, then put a lid on the tank and invert twice every minute. I've never seen an issue with that process unless you are too aggressive with the agitator stick which creates turbulence in the developer as it goes through the sprocket holes. And no, having only one reel in the tank doesn't cause any problems...as long as you shove the reel to the end of the black tube so the reel sits at the bottom of the tank. Otherwise, you'll need to use more solution or may only partially develop your film.

The only reason I see why anyone would want to not use the Paterson, but metal instead, is if you're headed to a photography program like Brooks Institute, and the prof will insist on you only using metal because that's what he used in the 60's.

Changing bags are ok, but if you can afford it, a changing tent is so much better. Get the biggest one you can afford. Small bags and there is a lot of contact with your film and the bag with potential for scratches or dust, etc. Also with a smaller bag, unless you're in a fairly cool air conditioned room, there is very little air and the perspiration from your hands and arms can become problematic. With a tent, this is really not an issue.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/172903-REG/Harrison_1000_Pup_Film_Changing_Tent.html
12-06-2015, 03:31 PM   #3
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Hi Path,
I would really recommend the Samigon spirals . i mentioned it with a photo on b/w thread recently.
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/107-film-processing-scanning-darkroom/306...ml#post3447720
12-06-2015, 03:40 PM   #4
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Use whatever tank gets the job done for you. There is more than one effective solution out there. But with SS reels all you need to do is practice loading a roll in the daylight while you watch a bunch of times then do it blind folded until you get the hang of it.

A couple of SS reel pointers.
  • Wash your hands before handling the film. It helps keep finger prints off the film.
  • Cut a chamfer on the loading end of the film's edges especially on 120 film.
  • "Cup" the film - squeeze width to form a arc in your hand while holding it) to get it clipped on the reel.
  • As you wrap the film in the reel, pause and push the film back-n-fourth in a translating manner to feel if is sliding ( wrap tighten and expands in the reel) without binding about every complete wrap. If it binds, backup up until it's sliding free again and continue.

If a SS reel is consistently difficult to get started, buy another one.

12-06-2015, 04:37 PM   #5
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Paterson's great, and the same reel can be used for 135 or 120. Just be sure to wash everything thoroughly, and let the reels dry completely before attempting another run.

I was lucky to find a used Harrison Pup Tent right when I wanted one, at my local camera shop so I could give it a good looking-over. Pricey when new, but if you can't find a good used one, maybe worth it in the long run. Especially if you think you might ever try large format.
12-06-2015, 05:21 PM   #6
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No interest in trying larger formats than 35mm. My 35mm film cameras, slide rules and books are already fighting for space on the shelves.

It can take me up to a couple of weeks to shoot a roll, so drying between uses shouldn't be an issue.

Local camera shop is Walmart for me, and the nearest place that has darkroom stuff is about five hours' drive down the road. So everything is order-in at the moment.

Advice about changing tent versus bag is taken and duly noted, but space will be at a premium, hence my question about bag sizes. If I ever get to the point where I need more than a two-reel Paterson tank, I will probably be converting a downstairs room as a dark room and such questions would become irrelevant.
12-06-2015, 05:35 PM   #7
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The changing tent is a great idea if you have the room, time and money.
A changing bag is slightly less convenient but works well for the rest of us.

Even the slightest humidity can causes loading problems with plastic reels.
Dry reels, inside of bag and hands thoroughly before use with a blow dryer.
Work fast before perspiration makes things steamy inside the changing bag.

It's a good idea to practice loading a scrap roll first outside then inside bag.
Don't worry; with experience it becomes easy. You'll be having fun in no time!

Chris

12-06-2015, 05:45 PM - 1 Like   #8
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I have a Kalt "medium" changing bag and it is a tight fit with a Patterson tank and two reels in it. Get a "large" if you can.

For 35mm, Patterson reels are great. Thin / flimsy film like Kentmere gives me a little trouble on them sometimes.

I wear surgical gloves when loading film on the reels in the changing bag. It cuts down on the amount of humidity in the bag and prevents fingerprints.

Don't forget to bring small scissors in the bag when loading film. Otherwise you get to the end and have to pull it loose from the cartridge.
12-06-2015, 05:58 PM   #9
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Man, this thread takes me back!
My dear old Dad and I built my first darkroom out of cardboard, lathing, and a lot of duct tape.
Lot's of great replies already. I don't really have anything further to add.

---------- Post added Dec 6th, 2015 at 03:59 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote

It's a good idea to practice loading a scrap roll first outside then inside bag.
Don't worry; with experience it becomes easy. You'll be having fun in no time!

Chris
Yes! +1

---------- Post added Dec 6th, 2015 at 04:01 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by AquaDome Quote

Don't forget to bring small scissors in the bag when loading film. Otherwise you get to the end and have to pull it loose from the cartridge.
Yes, and "back in the day" this used to be an issue because of static electricity which, if you pulled the tape off too quickly, would cause a spark that could mess up an image.

Don't know if that is still true; there could be anti-static tape now.
12-06-2015, 06:48 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Quartermaster James Quote
Man, this thread takes me back!
My dear old Dad and I built my first darkroom out of cardboard, lathing, and a lot of duct tape.
Lot's of great replies already. I don't really have anything further to add.

---------- Post added Dec 6th, 2015 at 03:59 PM ----------



Yes! +1

---------- Post added Dec 6th, 2015 at 04:01 PM ----------



Yes, and "back in the day" this used to be an issue because of static electricity which, if you pulled the tape off too quickly, would cause a spark that could mess up an image.

Don't know if that is still true; there could be anti-static tape now.
The tape is still an issue with Kodak and if peeled off, should be done so ever so slowly. Many opt to just cut with scissors. For Ilford and most others, the end of the film is run through a tab in the spool axle and is simply torn off with a swift and decisive pull. 120-220 films all have that tape adhering film to paper.
12-07-2015, 04:24 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
Advice about changing tent versus bag is taken and duly noted, but space will be at a premium, hence my question about bag sizes.
A large changing bag takes up almost no more space than a small bag when folded. I use the largest that I could find, then if I have a need for the bag to be clear of what I am doing, I put a cardboard carton with one open end in the bag
and use this to form my tent.
Glenn
12-07-2015, 04:41 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by G and T Quote
I use the largest that I could find, then if I have a need for the bag to be clear of what I am doing, I put a cardboard carton with one open end in the bag
How big a bag? The sellers seem to give the dimensions when fully unfolded and laid out flat.
12-07-2015, 05:42 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
How big a bag? The sellers seem to give the dimensions when fully unfolded and laid out flat.
The bigger the bag the better. There's more air inside so the perspiration/sweat is less of an issue, or is delayed a bit longer. Also if you're standing, the larger bag can hang down once you've gotten the film out of the cassette and you're putting it onto the reel. The only thing I've found useful with smaller change bags is loading 100' film into a bulk loader.
12-07-2015, 05:47 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
How big a bag? The sellers seem to give the dimensions when fully unfolded and laid out flat.
My changing bag is large enough to comfortably fit an empty beer carton (24 x 330ml bottles) inside. I bought it off the internet many years ago as a large format changing bag.

Glenn
12-07-2015, 05:56 AM   #15
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If loading your own film cassettes using a bulk loader attach the film end
to the spool with a good quality electrical tape like 3M Scotch Super 33+.
When developing it can be peeled off easily and leaves no adhesive residue.

Another benefit is that it will not fail if you try to advance past the last frame
while film cassette is still loaded in your camera.

Chris
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